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Hamid Pourbahrami

I was born in 1957 in Abadan, a southern industrial city of Iran, a city that would everyday invite its citizens to watch the beautiful, giant statues she kept at her heart: what she would name the Oil Refinery of Abadan.

These dark shapes’ movements along the arid, bright landscapes of Southern Iran have always been a magnificent influence on me. In the wartime with the Iraqi army, when these floating figures on the "Arvand” and “Bahmanshir” rivers had to leave Abadan, I thought the “blessings” left my city, and they did, indeed. Abadan, whose name meant “prosperous”, never became “Abadan” again. My proud black buffalos were now sad and sorrowful strangers who had been cast away from their home....

This desperate diaspora has always been a heavy burden on my heart. Now I am used to seeking the beauties of my hometown in my memories. Alas, they have no external reality anymore. Her memory is all there is.

Oh, I can never forget those who once willingly left their hometown to bring welfare to Abadan, and now were forced to say farewell to her prosperity. Yes, they had to leave her, and her many strongholds, to their young warriors, as if they were permanently sentenced to “farewell”. Years have gone by and they are still residents in my mind.

What they possibly expected was but a temporary leave. What came upon, however, was permanent alienation, both in and out of their once graceful hometown.